When I learned this morning that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, my heart sank -- not only because the award strikes me as coming too soon, but because the award will undoubtedly re-energize the right-wing fringe. Even the venerable New York Times seemed to see that potential:
For Mr. Obama, the award could, in a strange way, prove a political liability. As he traveled overseas during his campaign for the presidency, he was subjected to criticism from Republicans who argued he was too much the international celebrity. Winning the Nobel at such an early stage in his presidency could further that kind of criticism, especially in Washington’s hyperpartisan political environment.
With right-wingers from Mike Huckabee to Phyllis Schlafly calling for the destruction of the United Nations, it was certain that, beyond the award itself, this passage from the award citation would set them off:
“Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”
Obama was nominated for the award just nine days into his presidency, a fact that sticks in the craws of his detractors. I actually find it hard to argue with the assertion of some right-wingers that the award is meant more as a rebuke to former President George W. Bush than applause for the early, limited achievements of the current president. Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee even hinted as much, the Times reports:
“We have to get the world on the right track again,” he said. Without referring specifically to the Bush era, he continued: “Look at the level of confrontation we had just a few years ago. Now we get a man who is not only willing but probably able to open dialogue and strengthen international institutions.”
John Bolton, Bush's former U.N. ambassador, told The National Review that Obama should decline the award (a move that would probably not play so well on the world stage):
“The Nobel committee is preaching at Americans, but they won’t be deceived,” says Bolton. “He should decline it and then ask to be considered again in three or four years when he has a record.”
“I was nominated three years ago and I’m still waiting for the call,” laughs Bolton. “Today’s news is just another demonstration of how politicized the Nobel Peace Prize has become, from President Carter winning in 2002, to Al Gore in 2007, and President Obama in 2009."
"When the award was given to President Carter, the chairman of the committee said that it was a 'kick in the leg' to the Bush administration," recalls Bolton. "This is yet another 'kick in the leg' for the Bush administration."
Then there are those who simply can't accept that a black man won the Nobel. Here's Erick Erickson at Red State:
I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news. There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period.
Back at the National Review Online, blogger Andrew Stuttaford, riffing on the internet craze of mocking American culture and just about anything through the character of Adolf Hitler at the time of his downfall, trots out a Hitler metaphor:
How Long Can It Be . . .
. . . before we see another Downfall rewording, this time with Hitler shocked and disappointed that he didn't win the Nobel Prize?
(And no, this is not a cunning attempt to compare the president to the Fuhrer . . .)
At ResistNet, home to the Fringy McFringers of the Tea Party movement -- gun nuts, birthers, and more Hitler analogists who apparently form the base of the Republican Party -- a discussion board takes on the topic of whether Obama's Nobel is proof that he is actually the anti-Christ. (ResistNet is a project of Grassfire, an astroturfing outfit with friends in high places -- like the U.S. Congress. Senator Jim DeMint and Rep. Mike Pence are Grassfire boosters.)
Reply by Herbert L Ring Jr
While taking my youngest granddaughter to the bus stop this morning @ 7:30, an announcement came over the radio that literally had me shaking. The announcer said "PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS JUST AWARDED THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE". Can someone please tell me how one man can have so many believeing every word he says? Lately I have been watching the History Channel who's subject has been centering on the ANTICHRIST. Go to their archives, people, and watch what the experts are saying. Then tell me what your opinion is about Mr Obama relative to that subject. It's not just an issue that the people of the United States were mesmerized by his talk, it appears now that the world has fallen for it. If never before, we MUST rise up and be stronger than ever
Reply by Worried Grammie
I'm not yet convinced he's the antichrist. I've done months of research on these thugs and there are powerful, filthy rich elitists behind this destruction of this country, who have been following a plan for decades. The thug in chief has been groomed for many years to be the one to finally take down America. If you're read the End Times series by Tim LaHaye, you can see where things are falling in place - I'm just not sure if he's the antichrist or the precursor. It's time to research who was on the nominating committee and who rendered the final decision and then start connecting the dots.
Reply by Larry Puckette
WGrammie, since you're researching anti-Christ.. you may find it interesting that there's a school-of-thought that has been around for a while that the anti-Christ is not a person, but a religion. I first looked into it about 25 years ago. It wasn't new then and world events since then have given it a high level of probability (in my eyes anyway). Although, there are the questions that prophecies project about human characteristics-like hypnotizing speaking capabilities, head wounds, etc...
Well, speaking of wounded heads, at least the talking kind, there's this from Rush Limbaugh (via Newsweek's The Gaggle):
“The Nobel gang just suicide bombed themselves. Gore, Carter, Obama, soon Bill Clinton. See a pattern here? They are all leftist sell-outs. George Bush liberates 50 million Muslims in Iraq, Reagan liberates hundreds of millions of Europeans and saves parts of Latin America. Any awards?” Limbaugh says “Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and for that gets a prize, which is now worth as much as whatever prizes they are putting in Cracker Jacks these days.”
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington editor.